Coming in from the wings, Ginola tries for an acting career - because he's worth it

David Ginola, the footballer whose thespian skills have so far been confined to shampoo advertisements and the occasional melodramatic fall on the field, may soon join Britain's leading acting school.

Ginola, 36, is in discussions to start a course in the spring at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (Rada) in London having already had private tuition from a famous but unnamed French actor in the south of France.

If the former French international arrives at Rada, he will be following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Richard Attenborough, Kenneth Branagh and Anthony Hopkins.

His adviser, Chantal Stanley, confirmed Ginola was "very keen" to start at Rada so that he could benefit from the best drama training Britain had to offer.

"David has the looks, personality and charisma to be a genuine superstar," Ms Stanley said. "As a result, we get bombarded with scripts for both TV and film projects for him to do.

"But he is very sensible, a perfectionist, who never wants to do a bad job. He doesn't see himself as an actor yet but he is willing to try learning the craft with the best tutors to see if he is up to it."

Ms Stanley added that Ginola, who retired from English football last year after stints at Newcastle, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton, had already been taught projection, reading texts and dramatic interpretation by the French actor.

She added: " I really couldn't tell you who he is. He's far too famous."

But she added that, among others, the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar had been encouraging Ginola to go in front of the camera.

Ellis Jones, vice-principal at Rada, said that he was first contacted by Ginola's personal adviser six months ago.

Mr Jones said: "We were approached by his agent, who said David was interested in doing some acting training. We didn't think he could devote three years of his life to our full course, so we suggested either a short course or a bespoke one, tailor-made to his needs."

Mr Ellis added: "As far as we know he's only ever acted in the context of those L'Oreal shampoo advertisements."

In August last year Ginola was reported to have received an offer to star alongside Raquel Welch in a low-budget £1m production for a forthcoming film festival. His agent was said to have approached television companies about a walk-on part in Coronation Street or Emmerdale – but demanded an excessive fee.

Stars of pitch and screen

By Andrew Johnson

ERIC CANTONA

Maverick talent notorious for a "kung-fu" kick at a Crystal Palace fan while playing for Manchester United. Burnt bridges with the football association in his native France. Was French courtier in Shekar Kapur's film 'Elizabeth'.

VINNIE JONES

Member of Wimbledon FC's Crazy Gang more renowned for fouls than flair. Played Big Chris in Guy Ritchie's 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. Has appeared in other hard-man roles and now stars in a Bacardi commercial.

MARTIN COMPSTON

Competed for best actor award at 2002 Cannes Film Festival for debut role in Ken Loach's 'Sweet Sixteen'. But the 17-year-old Scot, who plays for Greenock Morton in the Third Division, prefers football to acting.

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